When it comes to prepping your home for the holidays, setting up a dazzling Christmas tree is top priority. With a beautiful, fresh tree propped up in the corner of your room, what’s left is an age-old tradition of putting up the Christmas ornaments, signalling the beginning of the festive season. But have you ever wondered how the first Christmas bauble came to be? Here’s the story behind the first Christmas ornament.
In 1597, Hans Greiner and Christoph Muller opened the very first glass workshop in the town of Lauscha, Germany. They quickly became known for their expertise in creating drinking glasses, flasks, bowls and glass beads.
Because Lauscha was located in a river valley, it was a strategic location for glass-making with plenty of sand, and timber to fire up the glass ovens. Glass-making became popular and more glass workshops were established in town.
Centuries later, Hans Greiner, a direct descendant of the glassworks founders, began creating the first Christmas baubles in 1847. Using a combination of glassblowing and molds, Greiner was able to handcraft glass ornaments in the shape of fruits and nuts. At first, mercury and lead were applied in the ornaments to make the inside appear silvery, but were eventually switched for a special combination of silver nitrate and sugar water.
These unique ornaments eventually gained popularity across Europe, as large quantities were exported to different parts of the region. When an illustration of Queen Victoria’s Christmas tree – decorated with beautiful glass ornaments – was printed in a London newspaper in 1846, the demand for Christmas baubles grew and has since become an important part of Christmas tradition.
Nowadays, Christmas baubles come in all shapes, sizes and even textures. They’re made with various materials and can even feature meaningful photographs, words, and unique symbols. Whether you live in a large mansion, or a minimal Scandinavian-style home, there’s a Christmas bauble that can bring the festive season to life made especially for your home aesthetic.